The Lady Cougars notched a pair of blowouts, topping Jackson State on Saturday, 70-39 and doing the same to the Columbia State Lady Chargers on Friday night by a lopsided score of 68-35.
The Cougars matched the ladies’ success with a sweep of their own as they handed the Generals a 54-44 loss after taking care of business on Friday night with a 71-59 win over the Chargers.
It was Sophomore Day at Cleveland State as six Lady Cougars Hannah Brown, Me'Lisa Martinez, Shea Nunn, Robyn Anthony, Mercedes Owens and Chelsea Jones and three Cougars Travis Jones, Ralph Eason and Jameico McPherson played their final home games.
The Lady Cougars started the game with the cold hand on Saturday as the Lady Generals scored the first four points holding the home team scoreless for almost five minutes. But, after that it was all Cleveland State as they warmed quickly and went on a 13-3 run to take the lead for good.
Shea Nunn completed a three-point play after a spectacular pass from Me'Lisa Martinez while Jasmine Davis did the same moments later and Mercedes Owens and Chelsea Jones added a shot each from downtown as the Cleveland State lead grew to double digits midway through the half.
Martinez knocked down two straight shots and Brown hit her third tri-fecta of the half as the Lady Cougars took a commanding 39-24 lead at the break.
The Lady Cougars ran away and hid from their guests in the second half as Robyn Anthony scored all 13 of her points in the final 20 minutes on a variety of shots including a shot from behind the arc and a pair in the paint. Owens added two more long range shots and Martinez put the finishing touches on the win with a three point play to finish the ladies contest.
"It was a good way to finish our season and also send our sophomores out with five straight wins," commented Lady Cougar coach Dan Lumpkin. "Everyone contributed this weekend, we had a little more to play for, but we finished strong and now hopefully we can carry our momentum over into the tournament next week."
Martinez paved the way for Cleveland State (18-9, 11-7) with 14 points, four assists and three steals while Anthony added 13 points and 8 rebounds and Owens and Brown had 11 points apiece. Samantha Smith led the Lady Generals wih 11 points while Kylan Crane added nine.
Travis Jones put the home team on top with a pair of three-pointers in the opening minute of the game. The Generals turned right around and knocked down the next 10 points to hold a 10-6 lead. The Cougars then caught fire again and went on a 13-0 run to take a 19-10 advantage. Filipe Goncalves came off the bench and immediately put a pair of hoops on the board including a coast to coast layup.
Three straight steals by the Cougars in the final two minutes of the half resulted in three layups on the other end as the home team zipped out to a 29-20 halftime lead.
The teams traded buckets for the first 10 minutes of the second half. Dansby and Goncalves both connected from behind the arc for the Cougars while Jacob Lloyd and Tyler Black did the same for Jackson State.
Another driving layup from Goncalves and a steal and layup by from Dansby pushed the Cougar lead to double digits with just over five minutes to play and the home team put it on cruise control the rest of the way to make it four out of four for Cleveland State for the weekend.
"It was not very pretty to watch at times today, but we picked up two big wins for the weekend and that's always big," stated Cougars coach Lee Cigliano. "We have been blessed to have our three sophomores. Travis, I've been spoiled to have a leader like him both on and off the court. We only had Ralph this year, but he has been a great asset to our program and Tiger has improved and really represented our program well these past two years. I'm really going to miss all three of these guys."
Dansby led the Cougars (18-9, 11-7) with 13 points, Goncalves added 11 points and nine rebounds to the cause, Jones finished with nine while Eason and Trey Suttles added eight apiece. Rameil Pollard, Tony Flagg and Braxton Gilliespie finished with eight points each to lead Jackson State.
On Friday night, the Cougars and the Chargers traded buckets to start the game with the visitors holding an early 9-4 edge and the home team coming back to tie the game at 12 all. The lead changed hands six times in the first half before Filipe Goncalves hit a long three-pointer at the 10 minute mark to give Cleveland State a lead and they would never trail again.
Leading by a bucket at the five minute mark, the Cougars suddenly caught fire on the offensive end as Travis Jones began to rain down three-point bombs on the Chargers in rapid fire fashion. The Cougar sharp-shooter let fly with four shots from downtown over a four minute period of time and when the halftime buzzer had sounded, Jones had led his team on a 13-2 run to finish the half and in the process hit seven of his nine shots for 18 first half points. Trey Suttles and Kahan Swift converted an acrobatic offensive rebound each as the Cougars raced to a 43-31 halftime advantage.
Bryan Akinkugbe converted a three-point play and Arturs Bremers hit a three-pointer as the Chargers scored eight of the first 10 points to start the second half, slicing the Cleveland State lead to six points, but that would be as close as it would get the rest of the way. A pair of driving layups from Ralph Eason and four straight points by Xavier Okoro righted the Cougar ship and they would not be threatened the rest of the way.
A long three-pointer and two straight twisting layups from Dantario Dansby extended the Cougar lead to 16 points with six minutes to play as the Cougars cruised to the win. The Cougars made only two more buckets than the Chargers and three more free tosses (11-14), but hit five more shots from behind the arc in the game which would ultimately be the difference in the contest.
Jones led the way for the Cougars with 20 points, Dansby finished with 15, and Eason added 14. Akinkugbe paced the Chargers with 15 points while Shekaree Scaife had 12.
LADY COUGARS 68
LADY CHARGERS 35
The Lady Cougars had few problems putting a mark in the win column on Friday night as they dominated the short-handed Columbia State team from start to finish. Hannah Brown nailed a tri-fecta of three-point shots in the first half as the home team went on a 21-8 run to race out to a comfortable lead.
Chelsea Jones hit a pair of short jumpers and Me'Lisa Martinez chipped in with a steal and layup as the Lady Cougars took a commanding 36-13 halftime advantage. Cleveland State shot 56 percent from the floor in the first half and 46 percent for the game.
Carley Fetzer claimed the paint as her own in the second half with six points and six boards while Mercedes Owens, Shea Nunn, and Jasmine Davis all put their name in the scorebook as the Lady Cougars cruised to the lopsided win.
Brown led the way for the Lady Cougars with 16 points including four of five shots from downtown, Jones added 13 points and eight boards while Jara Gasper and Fetzer added 10 apiece. Samantha Thomas paced the Lady Chargers with 14 points while Toyree Watkins added 11.
Both Cleveland State teams will now turn their attention toward Motlow State and the Region VII Conference Tournament next week, starting on Tuesday with the play-in games and finishing with the Championship games on Saturday.
All Cleveland State games can be watched live via the Cougar Sports Network by going to the Cleveland State website and following the links. Date and times to be determined.